Chef Salvatore Fraterrigo is proud to say that he learned to cook from two of the best chefs he has ever known: his mother Candida and grandmother Vitina. Even today, their traditional recipes and techniques inspire the way Salvatore approaches cooking.
Salvatore, known as Toto, grew up in Trapani, on the west coast of Sicily, where he began cooking for his school friends at parties and gatherings. After graduation, he took a job as an assistant in a local seafood restaurant. Salvatore enjoyed the work and soon began cooking with Peppe Giuffre, a well known chef and the owner of an important catering company.
Salvatore learned a lot in 3 years, preparing meals at such prestigious events as the Louis Vuitton Cup, an annual yacht race. To broaden his experience, Salvatore began to travel and work in restaurants across the United States in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, New York (il Buco restaurant), and Henley-on-Thames in England.
Through his travels and experiences in kitchens around the world, Salvatore’s cooking philosophy evolved. He believes in genuine food based on updated classic recipes, not alchemy, and the importance of using only the finest ingredients. His cooking style reflects the rich blending of many cultures that live together in Sicily.
Eventually Salvatore returned to Trapani and opened his own restaurant, Il Radicchio, where he was able to apply many of the new ideas he had acquired abroad to his interpretation of favorite Sicilian dishes. The restaurant won accolades in both Le Guide de L’Espresso and Sicilia Bell’Italia.
When his friend Peppe Giuffre asked Salvatore for his assistance in opening a new Sicilian restaurant in Paris, Salvatore did not refuse the opportunity. His next move was back to the United States where he became chef of NewYork City’s acclaimed I Trulli Restaurant and Enoteca. After a year Agata and Valentina, a gourmet store on New York’s Upper East Side invited Salvatore to take the helm of their upscale restaurant of the same namesake. He brought his distinctive Sicilian touch to not only Agata Valentina but also Cacio e Vino, 54 Mint (SF), Treotto, and Centro Vinoteca.